oil pulling
Lifestyle,Think Healthy

Oil Pulling: The What, Why & How?

Confession 101: I’ve heard of oil pulling in the media but I have no idea what that actually means.

That did come out of my mouth on one of my weekly intern calls. I had a feeling it had something to do with dental hygiene but that was about it. Because the word “oil” is in there, a lot of folks automatically assume it may have some dietary impact or nutrition component. I do get asked every once in a while. So I threw out to the interns and the mighty Tori took the idea and ran with it!

Read on for her college educated summary of oil pulling; the what, why and how. I also asked her to include some popular blog posts of folks who have given it a go — just so you’d have some real experiences to take a look at.


We were all at a loss for the details surrounding oil pulling, myself included. Well, until Google and YouTube came to my rescue. Now I’ve got some of the basic facts so let’s take a look at them, shall we?

What is oil pulling?

An ancient Ayruvedic remedy in which oil is swished around in the mouth for 10-15 minutes or until the saliva becomes thick and white. Dr. Edward F. Group III from foodmatters.com states that “the goal [of oil pulling therapy] is to remove harmful bacteria, fungus, and other organisms out of the mouth, teeth, gums and throat (1). This procedure has been used extensively in traditional Indian cultures, not only as a way to cleanse the oral cavity, but to treat about 30 systemic diseases as well. (2).

How Oil Pulling Works:

For the most effective therapy, place a tablespoon of oil in the mouth and whoosh it around for about 10-15 minutes. By doing this, toxins in the saliva will attach to lipids in the oil. Continuously swish the oil around until the saliva turns thick and viscous. Once this consistency is achieved, spit the oil out which will remove unwanted bacteria, fungus and organisms from the mouth. Tooth brushing and rinsing should follow this procedure (3).

What is the best oil to use?

According to the Indian Journal of Dental Research, sesame oil provides the best outcome and here are a few reasons why:

  1. It doesn’t stain the teeth.
  2. It doesn’t have a lingering aftertaste.
  3. It is readily available and cost-effective.
  4. It causes no allergic reactions
  5. It has a high antioxidant profile (3).

No sesame oil? No problem. Cold pressed coconut, sunflower, and olive oil are also commonly used. It is recommended to start oil pulling by using only 1-2 teaspoons and gradually work your way up to a full tablespoon.

Possible benefits of oil pulling:

  • Prevents bad breath and dry mouth
  • Migraine relief
  • Helps to rid hangovers
  • Reduces sinus congestion and allergy symptoms
  • Helps detox the body of toxins and harmful organisms

 For more information on oil pulling…

For more information, check out this article at Food Matters.

Want to read about real oil pulling experiences? Check out these brave bloggers:

A little word from the Author Victoria Eaton….

I’m just a small town girl from Missouri studying Nutrition & Dietetics at Missouri State University. As a lover of fitness and an avid foodie, I am ecstatic to be part of the Eat. Drink. Be Skinny team. My love for health & wellness began a few years ago when my mom jumped on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. It’s been history since then & I absolutely love my healthy, happy lifestyle!

Here's your author and a first class, grade A intern!

Here’s your author and a first class, grade A intern!

Have you jumped on the oil pulling bandwagon? We’d love to hear about it!

Oil Pulling Resources:

  1. Group III, Edward F. Oil Pulling- The Habit That Can Transform Your Health. Food Matters, n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/oil-pulling-the-habit-that-can-transform-your-health>.
  2. Singh, Abhinav, and Bharathi Purohit. “Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneratoin: A review of holistic approaches to oral health.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 2.2 (2011): 64-68. Web. 20 May 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/>.
  3. Asokan S. Oil pulling therapy. Indian J Dent Res 2008;19:169

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